Barbara is a coach, teacher, writer, disruptor, risk-taker, learning designer, connector, and visionary. She calls herself a creative learning strategist where others call her a “change-maker.” Whenever anyone told Barbara she couldn’t do something, she took it as a challenge. Her dream long ago was to create an online place for educators that was safe and secure with all the tools and resources in one place. She did it with My eCoach as early as 1999 — way before there was Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest. Barbara is what some call a “Digital Pioneer.” With her coaching background and an amazing team, they created coaching and mentoring strategies and processes that have been adopted in schools and districts in the U.S. and other countries. Barbara coined the phrase “Making Learning Personal” in 2000 and trademarked it in 2002. She brought in different learning approaches such as Universal Design for Learning that addressed the needs of all learners. In 2004, she started her Rethinking Learning blog in My eCoach. In 2010, she moved her blog to this website, barbarabray.net, to expand on the writing she was doing.
Barbara founded Personalize Learning, LLC in 2012 with Kathleen McClaskey who she co-authored two books on personalized learning: Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning. After several years later, they decided to do what they do best and consult independently. For Barbara, this meant expanding on the coaching she had been doing for years. Barbara continues to find and research new tools and methods that help educators create learner-centered environments and how any person no matter what age can find their purpose and develop agency.
In 2017, she visited schools in New Zealand and learned how much our stories matter. When she returned, Barbara started her Rethinking Learning podcast to capture stories from people who inspire her. Now with over 100 podcasts, she recently added reflections around controversial topics. There were discussions about mental health and the importance of developing wellbeing, a sense of belonging, and empathy. The pandemic exposed inequities and social injustices that needed to be discussed.
After listening to the stories about how the struggles people experience helped them discover their WHY, Barbara started writing. She invited people that were on her podcast or who had reached out to her to share their stories for her book, Define Your WHY published in February 2020. One month later, the pandemic stopped the world and all of the planned events including book signings were canceled. Everything changed for everyone. This is a worldwide pandemic and what happened to her was not personal. Barbara started coaching again, listening to the concerns of educators, families, friends, and business owners. She continues to blog, host her podcast, invite educators to join My eCoach, do social media to connect people, and whatever she can to support educators and learners during this time.
Barbara has been doing keynotes, strategic planning, presentations, webinars, workshops interviews all over the world on Re-Defining Your Why during this crisis. Reach out to Barbara so you can discover your WHY and live and learn on purpose even in these uncertain times.